For Immediate Release

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Contact: Kevin Curry, 503-986-1351



Oregon University System Could Save About $67 Million On Health Care With Measure



SALEM, OR – On a party-line vote today, House Democrats voted against consideration of a measure that would save the Oregon University System about $67 million next biennium. The bill, HB 3508, authorizes the Oregon University System to withdraw from the Public Employees’ Benefit Board health benefit plan and establish or participate in alternative employee health insurance plans.


“Today we had the opportunity to take a very simple step toward providing real cost savings to our public universities,” said Rep. Bruce Hanna (R – Roseburg) who introduced the measure. “Yet, despite all the boasting about our universities done by this very body – and despite all of the talk about doing ‘everything we can’ to help education, the House today took a pass.”


HB 3508 makes fiscal sense as higher education costs grow and students face a proposed five percent tuition increase. Under the bill, the State Board of Higher Education, through PEBB, may elect to provide alternative group health benefit plans to OUS employees if the same level of benefits is available at a lower cost that through PEBB.


“We need to give our universities every tool we can to curb the ever-rising costs associated with higher education,” said Rep. Bruce Hanna (R – Roseburg), who introduced HB 3508. “I can’t understand why the legislature wouldn’t want to pass a bill that would allow our public universities to save an estimated $67 million. How can we tell students, parents and faculty with a straight face that we are ‘doing everything we can to support education’ when a simple administrative cost-saving measure does not even get consideration?”


According to the 2012 Health and Welfare Plans Report from OUS, “…if OUS had operated an independent health insurance program in 2010 and 2011, there would have been a savings of about $67 million for this two year period compared to PEBB with self-insured OUS medical and dental plans.”


To view Rep. Hanna’s speech on HB 3508, click here: